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Marsden's Merseybeat Magic
on 23 January 2012
If you asked most people about girl singers out of Liverpool during the Merseybeat boom, they'd think of Cilla Black. But the Cavern's ex-cloakroom attendant wasn't the only lass to make a splash. Beryl Marsden was probably a lot more popular locally and had a plucky, energetic voice closer to maybe Lulu's than Cilla's. She also looked stunning and had a tomboy-ish quality at odds with the times. Amazingly, this is her first retrospective - and it's fitting that Changes should appear on RPM, a label which boasts an exhaustive range of 60s girl CDs which is second-to-none.
In one sense, Changes is a game of two halves. The first offers Beryl's entire 60s output for Decca and Columbia, from early solo 45s (including several Motown covers and the Mod nugget 'What's She Got') to two singles with The Shotgun Express. The first was with Rod Stewart. Interestingly, she didn't actually sing on the second: the version here of 'Funny 'Cos Neither Could I' is a previously unissued early take). Also present is a lively track from Decca's At The Cavern album.
The rest of the compilation is given over to Beryl's occasional recordings since the 60s, starting with a pseudonymous 45 in the late 70s as Lynn Jackson ('Sad Songs') and the Blondie-like 'Hungry For You' through to a spate of recordings in the noughties, most of which subtly update the 60s girl group sound. The album then ends with a new acoustic performance of Bobby Darin's 'I'll Be There' (the original of which used to end proceedings at the Cavern back in the day).
While Beryl didn't boast a voice of the quality of, say, Dusty Springfield, she has a soulful quality which has been shamefully overlooked - until now. Word is that Beryl is going to busy in 2012 commemorating what is remarkably her 50th year of performing. Changes is the perfect way to start the celebrations.